Guidance on ‘technical challenges’ of designing risers issued

The Building Engineering Services Association (BESA) has produced new guidance to address the technical challenges faced by engineers designing building services risers.

The second in a series planned by the Association’s specialist Offsite Group, BESA Technical Bulletin TB56/1.2 provides a snapshot of guidelines, principles, and rules of thumb to be considered as early as possible in the design process for the spatial fit of services inside risers. The group’s first, released in March, covered service voids and horizontal distribution/modules.

Emphasising the importance of allowing adequate spatial fit for building services, the free-to-download riser guide provides specific advice for engineers using traditional approaches or Modern Methods of Construction (MMC)/design for manufacture and assembly (DfMA).  Highlighting the importance of planning the layout and spatial provision within risers as early as possible in the design process, it also shows how well-designed risers allow for more flexibility in building design by enabling architects and engineers to plan the layout of utilities more efficiently.

BESA’s guide covers types, sizes, positions, and co-ordination of riser turnouts on to floor plates, all of which need to be established no later than the end of RIBA Stage 3, as the building form and fabric will be largely set and hard to change after this point. It also emphasises the important part risers play in achieving regulatory compliance and life safety

“A well-planned riser strategy is vital for the efficient distribution of services, and to ensure that systems can be accessed easily for future maintenance and safety work,” said BESA Offsite Group chair, Mark Snell.  “A sensible and coherent riser strategy also helps avoid the problems we often encounter with complex crossovers between services and congested ceiling voids.”

The MMC and Digital director at Dalkia Engineering added: “Risers are essential components – providing a vertical pathway for the efficient distribution of utilities, ensuring safety, facilitating maintenance, and allowing for adaptability to changing needs and technologies. “Poor provision, and inadequate riser sizes, will almost certainly lead to serious problems with spatial fit, compliance, and access.”

The BESA guide covers the main distribution strategies used for riser design, stressing the importance of early and detailed collaboration with the architect, structural engineering team, and fire engineers, to ensure that the riser strategy is compatible with ‘the wider vision’ for the building.



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